Don’t Call Me Resilient

Fast Fashion: Why garment workers' lives are still in danger 10 years after Rana Plaza

Episode Summary

We look back to the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1,124 people and discuss how much - or how little - has changed for garment-worker conditions today.

Episode Notes

Fast fashion is that ever-changing need to have the latest beautiful thing at a bargain price - that club-ready piece of clothing, that status symbol shoe, or that must-have top you just found at the mall.

But that cheap statement piece comes at a price. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, after the oil and gas sector. It’s also famously unfair to its workers, the majority of whom are women. Although there has been a lot of talk about female empowerment, the reality is that most women who toil on the factory floor remain in poverty for most of their lives.

Ten years ago this month, much attention turned to the global garment industry when a group of garment factories collapsed at Rana Plaza near Dhaka, Bangladesh. The accident, called a “mass industrial homicide" by unions in Bangladesh, killed 1,124 people and injured at least 2,500 more.

Most of the people who went to work that day were young women, almost all were supporting families with their wages and all were at the bottom of the global production chain.

This week on _Don't Call Me Resilient_, we look back at the Rana Plaza disaster to explore how much — or how little  — has changed for garment worker conditions since.

The industry has a "murderous disregard for human life." That’s how this episode's guest, Minh-Ha Pham, puts it. She is an associate professor in media studies at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and the author of Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.

Also joining us is Dina Siddiqi, a feminist anthropologist and an expert on labour in Bangladeshi garment factories. She is an associate professor at New York University.